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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guest Post: Dear Bishop, From Your Gay Mormon Brother

Have something to say? Anyone can submit a guest post to Modern Mormon Men. Just send us an email with your post, a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself).

In spite of his pretentious pseudonym, GMP is much like any other single, active, lifelong member of the Church. He enjoys reading and writing, working on his car, and finding new music to become obsessed with, in addition to jogging, camping, and snowboarding. Ladies, he's pretty much your dream guy, except in that he is a self-proclaimed homosexual. His blog, Gay Mormon Pioneer, is a window into the life of the Millennial gay Mormon, struggling to live in accordance with the Gospel and occasionally succeeding. There, he chronicles his struggles with pornography and his desire to enter the temple, serve a mission, get married, and raise a family, with bits of his boring daily life thrown in the mix.

Image via Caitlinator.
Dear Bishop,

I am a gay member of your community, but if I can, let me refine that a bit further. I am a practicing Mormon and I try every day to live the standards of the Gospel that have been set forth by our books of scripture and the words of our living, modern prophets. I do not smoke, drink coffee, or consume alcohol and I take care of my body as the Lord has told all of us to do. I live the law of chastity. I have never been with another person sexually, either male or female, and I do all I can do to avoid pornography and masturbation. I enjoy church and I have served faithfully as a teacher in Sunday School, a secretary and clerk for the bishopric, as a member of the missionary committee, and as a Sacrament meeting greeter. I am far from perfect, but I’m trying every day to be a little more like Jesus Christ, because I have a testimony of His love and power and I am trying to catch that greater vision of what He has in store for me.

Know that my comments today are not directed at you per se, because I have always felt loved and accepted by you and the other bishops in my life. You have been a friend and have offered me a tissue and a hug every time I come into your office to talk about the challenges I faced that week. You text me every few days, hoping that I’ll hear the love you’re feeling as you write those kind messages. You reassure me that I can do it, and yet, you also tell me that it doesn’t matter what you want for me, it matters what I want for me. I get that you care about me personally, and I appreciate it every day.

My purpose in writing you is to explain some of the emotions that I still have, in spite of my best efforts to eradicate them from my thoughts and focus on happier, more hopeful tidings.

First, I understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is steadfast and immovable. I know that principles of the Gospel only change via the great and glorious blessing of revelation to the Lord’s prophets. I would never ask you, or the Church, to change position on homosexuality so that I could feel more comfortable living a gay lifestyle while still enjoying the blessings of full fellowship in the LDS church. The Celestial Kingdom’s price of entry is obedience and I wouldn’t seek for that to change without the Lord’s approval.

However, there are days when I wish the Lord would reveal to the world that gay is okay. That kind of revelation would certainly make my life easier. There are times when I think that God doesn’t really care if I’m gay or not, and the only reason He hasn’t revealed it to men is because He knows that there may be many hyper-conservatives who are either friendly towards or are members of the LDS church, and He knows that they’ll abandon His gospel if He ever appears "soft” on the gays. And I know that even if that’s how He feels and has chosen to withhold that revelation for His church's sake, I still need to be obedient to Him, just to show Him that I can be obedient. Even so, I can't help but wonder why it's such a big deal for me to avoid romances with other men.

I know it’s counter-productive to the goals I have, but I just can’t keep those desperate desires from popping into my head occasionally.

The other thing I wanted to make you aware of is that I am sometimes tired of hearing the gay-bashing in our community. I hear certain people talk about homosexuality like it’s some disgusting disease that needs to be inoculated against, and it seems that those same people feel like hate and derision are the best vaccines. I agree that acting out on those tendencies is a serious sin, but mere homosexuality, felt but not acted upon, like the kind that I experience, isn’t grounds for hate. In fact, even if I was a sinner, that’s not grounds for hate either. Just ask Jesus Christ about what qualifies a person to be hated, I think He’ll agree with me on this one.

I want to come out to the world. I want every one of my friends to know that, yep, I prefer men. And I don’t want that fact, that simple fact that has never really been manifested in my actions, to qualify me for a stoning from the people around me. And more importantly, I don’t want that fact to disqualify me from being loved by the people I care about. I just want to be honest with others and to stop living this secretive life of second-guessing and paranoia.

To clarify, me coming out doesn’t mean I want the lifestyle. It just would be so nice not to have to hide anymore behind a burdensome façade of forced heterosexuality. I have faith in the Lord's miraculous ability to lighten, and perhaps even remove, this grave load of same-gender attraction, but nonetheless, I'd love for people to see me as I am and pray for that miraculous change, but love me still the same, just as I am right now.

The simple fact of the matter is that I am gay, but I am also trying very hard to be the most obedient gay guy I can be, and every time that someone says some hurtful remark about how so-and-so is gay now and how lame is that because I really used to respect him and so on, it’s like adding another brick to the already very heavy backpack I’m carrying. I don’t know what we can do to change it, but I have faith that there is hope for change. I believe it’s possible for me and people like me to become more Christlike by choosing everlasting spiritual fulfillment over temporary sexual and emotional satisfaction, and I believe that people in our community who are misinformed have the same potential to become as Jesus is, the potential to love and support their brothers and sisters who struggle from all kinds of challenges, no matter their level of obedience to the standards they may or may not understand. Love for God and love for our neighbors are the two great commandments, and I have faith in our community's potential to follow them to the fullest.

I love you, Bishop. You, and people like you, make my life easier every time I pause to remember the blessings you’ve provided. Unfortunately, I sometimes pay more attention to those who make my life more difficult, but whenever you pop into my head, I smile a little bit and feel better about being me. Thank you for your kind and selfless service. You change the world, just by the examples you provide of Christlike love.



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